While cycling in the U.S. hasn't quite reached the same level of saturation as countries in Europe, it has gained considerable ground in the past decade with the share of bicycle commuters in the country's population increasing more than 61 percent since 2000.
Some cities--like Portland, Washington D.C. and Minneapolis--have responded to the influx of riders by investing in infrastructure, strengthening bicycle safety laws and helping build up a community of cyclists. Other cities, not so much.
Financial services information site NerdWallet analyzed 52 of the largest U.S. cities to determine which cities are the best for cyclists. Portland took the top spot, followed by Washington D.C., Minneapolis, San Francisco, Seattle, Sacramento, Philadelphia, Tucson, Ariz., Oakland, Calif., and Denver.
Cities were measured by:
- the share of bicycle commuters in the total population
- bicyclist fatalities per 10,000 biking commuters
- per capita dollar amount of federal transportation funds
- miles of bicycle lanes, paths and routes per square mile
Portland has far and away the greatest share of bicycling commuters. According to NerdWallet's data, the city has a 6.1 percent share in the total population. Minneapolis has the next greatest share with 4.5%.
The number of commuters using a private vehicle to get to work declined in 99 of the 100 largest U.S. urban areas, according to a report released in December by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund. Meanwhile, the proportion of commuters bicycling to work increased in 85 out of the 100 largest U.S. urbanized areas.
Interestingly, the cities where driving declined the most were also less impacted by the recession, the report says, based on unemployment, income, and poverty statistics.
Photo: Flickr user Jonathan Potter